The Brewers and Astros each hoped to have turned a corner in June. The Astros, however, took the first step in continuing that trend during a three-game series against their former National League Central division rivals.
With a 10-1 win over the Brewers Tuesday, the Astros are 9-8 this month while Milwaukee dropped to 8-8. On Wednesday, Erik Bedard will take the mound in Game 2 for the Astros as he tries to win the Interleague series against Brewers' right-hander Kyle Lohse.
Bedard earned the win against White Sox ace Chris Sale on Friday, not quite outdueling Sale (who had 14 Ks) but going six innings and allowing only one unearned run on three hits to win the game. Bedard has held opponents to two runs or less in six of his last seven starts since returning from a brief bullpen stint.
"I've just been keeping the ball off the middle of the plate and mixing things up for hitters," Bedard said. "That's always the goal, but it's easier to say than do. I'm getting there. It's nice to be seeing results lately and fun when you're winning like we have been."
The 34-year-old left-hander has struggled against Milwaukee, allowing 11 runs in two losses to the Brewers last season while with the Pirates.
Meanwhile, Lohse has found his rhythm in June with a 1-0 record and 2.25 ERA in three starts. He has lowered his ERA from 4.37 to 3.84 this month and is 10-8 with a 2.74 ERA against Houston in his career.
Brewers: Lohse concentrating on early innings
• Lohse tossed a quality start his last time out against the Reds on Friday, allowing five hits and three runs, one earned, in six innings. But the right-hander was still upset with the single tallies he gave up in the first two frames.
"I have to figure something out," Lohse said. "It seems like I keep giving up hits in the first inning. I felt like after that, I made the pitches I needed to. ... You can't get distracted. You just have to keep going."
The statistics show opponents hit Lohse better early on, with a .333 average and .378 OBP against him in the first inning, highest in both categories of any frame.
• Ryan Braun was in Phoenix Tuesday to see hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan for what assistant general manager Gord Ash called a trip that represented "a due diligence second opinion."
Braun is on the disabled list for the first time in his career with an inflamed nerve between his right thumb and forefinger and is eligible for reinstatement on June 25.
• The Brewers are expecting to get pitchers Marco Estrada and Chris Narveson back from stints on the disabled list during their upcoming homestand.
Estrada, sidelined by a strained left hamstring, threw a 45-pitch side session at Miller Park on Monday and the Brewers would like to see Narveson, who has been on the DL since early April with a sprained finger, have more success at Triple-A Nashville before returning to the team.
Astros: Porter says Bedard is getting better with time
• Astros manager Bo Porter likes the direction his veteran starter Bedard is going as the season progresses.
"I actually think he's definitely gotten stronger as the season's going," Porter said. "We understood coming into the year he had some injury history and that we needed to build him up properly. He's done a great job with our strength and conditioning regime and started pushing himself out there. He's probably feeling as good as he's felt in a lot of years." Bedard has lowered his ERA from 6.67 to 4.82 over the last month and is 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA in June.
• The Astros have not won a three-game series since taking two of three from the Royals from May 20-22. After facing all lefties against the White Sox, the Astros will see the second of three straight Milwaukee right-handers in Lohse.
• The Brewers and Astros are the only teams to face each other in Interleague Play as members of each league. The American League Brewers took two of three games from the National League Astros in 1997, and now the NL Brewers are visiting the AL Astros this week.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.